Zeiger Wrestles Outstanding Meet At Holiday Classic
Scottie Senior Wins Rubber Match To Take Gold At CMR
By Joseph Terry
Published: Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
It was the match of the tournament and possibly the match of the year in the state of Montana, that won Glasgow's Luke Zeiger the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at the prestigious CMR Holiday Classic this weekend in Great Falls.
In a rubber match between two of the best wrestlers in the history of the Treasure State, Zeiger got a late two-point nearfall on Great Falls High's Cole Mendenhall to win the 140-pound championship at the Classic with a 7-6 decision. Both Zeiger and Mendenhall are three-time state champions, Zeiger in Class B-C and Mendenhall in Class AA. The two wrestlers met twice at the Havre Invitational to open the season, each taking one victory, Mendenhall earning his in the tournament championship.
This match was no different, with Mendenhall narrowly leading much of the match until the late move won it for Zeiger.
“His confidence level grew as the match went down,” assistant coach Cory Johnston said.
Luke was named outstanding wrestler for the performance over equally great performances by Havre's Eli Hinebauch, who beat three other state champions to win the 152-pound gold, and Chinook's Ben Stroh, who won the 189-pound title by extending his state record consecutive pin streak to 81 in-a-row, winning the Quick Pin award with five falls in 6:32.
“That was one of several that was phenomenal,” head coach Byron Hallock said. “You had (Conrad's Luke) Schlosser and (Helena's Gabe) Schroek at 119; Hinebauch at 152, there's four state champs in that weight class alone. It was a fun weekend for a wrestling fan to go watch that. As a coach it doesn't get much better than that.”
While Zeiger was the only champion for the Scotties at the tournament, he wasn't the only one wrestling on the meet's second day. Senior 152-pounder Ryan Bergtoll finished in sixth place, losing only to Hinebauch and Belgrade's Colter Devers, who finished fifth in Class A last season. Freshmen Jake Shawver (98) and Joe Doney (heavyweight) each made the fourth round of the consolation bracket.
“I think Joe Doney had a great meet,” Johnston said. “Joe's been wrestling about four months in his whole life now and he just made it to the second day of the CMR and lost to the fourth place kid. He was beating him 4-1 and ended up getting pinned. The kid tried the same moves eight times and it worked the ninth time. It was a good learning experience for him.”
The Scotties finished 14th overall at the tournament with 82 points. Great Falls High won the meet, and only Forsyth and Choteau finished higher among Class B-C teams.
“We did all right as a team,” Hallock said. “We might have shocked ourselves a little bit. Looking back of course we could have done a lot better.”
The Scotties also had a good showing at the JV tournament across town at Great Falls High. Four Glasgow wrestlers placed at the event and even more wrestled deep into the tournament. Harlan Bragg pinned teammate Eddie Daggett to win the 215-pound championship, while Travis Austin (160) finished in third place and Ben Kountz (135) finished in fourth. Both Jacoby Chase-Collins and Robbie Henville lost one match shy of the fifth place match.
“They call it a JV tournament but theres a lot of varsity guys over there,” Hallock said. “It's a huge tournament.”
With the third place finish and a positive showing at the JV tournament, the team is certainly showing signs its heading in the right direction.
“Where we're at with this young team, it's something to build on and look forward to,” Hallock said. “We had some really good wins and some really bad losses. We had a couple matches that we were winning and we ended up getting pinned, which was a let down. It's the would haves that kill you. We've got to start winning those matches we're ahead in.”
Glasgow has just one more outing before taking a break for the holidays. The Scotties host a dual against Glendive at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The Scotties, who admit they're not a dual team, will likely be facing a significant numbers disadvantage against the Red Devils. The key to the match will be getting mat time for the team before break.
“The kids' confidence, now they've seen the bright lights of the big city, so to speak,” Hallock said. “Nothing should shock them now.”
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